The Tenement House Exhibition opened on Fifth Avenue near 38th Street in February 1900. Organized by housing reformer Lawrence Veiller and the Charity Organization Society of New York, the exhibition included photographs, charts, diagrams, scale models, and over 100 hand-colored maps of Manhattan’s most impoverished neighborhoods. More than 10,000 people attended the exhibition during its two-week run. The public awareness generated by the exhibition led to some of the most consequential housing reform legislation of the 20th century.
The New-York Historical Society holds 89 of these unique and historically influential maps, the only ones known to survive, donated to New-York Historical by Lawrence Veiller in 1920. A selection of maps is now on view.
Exhibitions at New-York Historical are made possible by Dr. Agnes Hsu-Tang and Oscar Tang, the Saunders Trust for American History, the Seymour Neuman Endowed Fund, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. WNET is the media sponsor.